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2015 Forester
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Discussion Starter #1
My owners manual says my Forester's CVT is due for an oil change. I took it to the dealer and they told me that it was not necessary. I'm hoping to keep this vehicle for a long time. Should I go to a different dealer, do it myself, or simply listen to the current dealer?
 

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2018 Forester Premium 2.5 CVT
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111 Posts
PghJim---Your questions have been subject to a lot of discussion. I think somewhere they give the CVT fluid change interval for severe driving; otherwise they don't give one. I suggest you take a look at the suggestions for change interval that others have given on this forum. Besides this, because of special considerations for changing the CVT fluid, I strongly recommend that you have a professional do it, such as a dealership or a shop that's familiar with it that will warranty their work.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring
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653 Posts
I just had mine changed and the CVT reprogrammed to account for any chain stretch issues. Cost was 600+ from the dealer. Was at 36K miles and the way I drive I'm happy to follow the schedule and get it changed every 30k miles.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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854 Posts
My local dealer (decently trustworthy but I've had to set them straight a couple times over the years) had recommended against ever changing CVT fluid, which I find stupid. It's going to get dirty and tiny metal particles that accelerate wear, even the best fluid eventually breaks down and gets dirty. The other day while there I casually mentioned it again and service guy says that problems usually start around 110K-120k miles, therefore NOW recommend changing it around 100k miles. Seems to me like 60k or less would be more appropriate, but it's not inexpensive to do! He quoted about $400 just for the fluid, wth?

I questioned further about what all gets done and he never really answered, but indicated it was drain and refill, not flush. Proper flush would be much better, sounds like he doesn't really know what he's talking about or what the techs perform for this! I've been doing a lot of reading about CVT servicing here. So filter/screen magnetic catch to clean, drop pan, what else?

Edit: Here's an interesting thread.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbul...ging-cvt-fluid-782507/index2.html#post7444251
 

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2014 Forester CVT
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193 Posts
My local dealer (decently trustworthy but I've had to set them straight a couple times over the years) had recommended against ever changing CVT fluid, which I find stupid. It's going to get dirty and tiny metal particles that accelerate wear, even the best fluid eventually breaks down and gets dirty. The other day while there I casually mentioned it again and service guy says that problems usually start around 110K-120k miles, therefore NOW recommend changing it around 100k miles. Seems to me like 60k or less would be more appropriate, but it's not inexpensive to do! He quoted about $400 just for the fluid, wth?

I questioned further about what all gets done and he never really answered, but indicated it was drain and refill, not flush. Proper flush would be much better, sounds like he doesn't really know what he's talking about or what the techs perform for this! I've been doing a lot of reading about CVT servicing here. So filter/screen magnetic catch to clean, drop pan, what else?

Edit: Here's an interesting thread.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbul...ging-cvt-fluid-782507/index2.html#post7444251
The dealer I use in Johnson City, TN quoted me $295.00 for a flush, refill, and re-program. I'm at 100K on my '14 Forester and it's time, IMO, to have it done.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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854 Posts
Yes, trust but verify. My dealer recently started using made in China filter brand that I've never heard of, always question the mechanic/dealer. They quoted me almost $500, local independent Subie shop said $289 with fluid and all, using BG Products synthetic CVT fluid.
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring CVT
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236 Posts
My local dealer (decently trustworthy but I've had to set them straight a couple times over the years) had recommended against ever changing CVT fluid, which I find stupid. It's going to get dirty and tiny metal particles that accelerate wear, even the best fluid eventually breaks down and gets dirty. The other day while there I casually mentioned it again and service guy says that problems usually start around 110K-120k miles, therefore NOW recommend changing it around 100k miles. Seems to me like 60k or less would be more appropriate, but it's not inexpensive to do! He quoted about $400 just for the fluid, wth?

I questioned further about what all gets done and he never really answered, but indicated it was drain and refill, not flush. Proper flush would be much better, sounds like he doesn't really know what he's talking about or what the techs perform for this! I've been doing a lot of reading about CVT servicing here. So filter/screen magnetic catch to clean, drop pan, what else?

Edit: Here's an interesting thread.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbul...ging-cvt-fluid-782507/index2.html#post7444251

HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH. thats my procedure. just do what it says you will not go wrong. ive been pushing this on this forum for a few months now. im glad to hear that its giving people that courage to question the all mighty and knowing dealer.

some times the dealer is just in the dark as we are. especially because they are not allowed to rebuild or tear down these CVTs at the dealerships. I think the dealer wants to give different advice but they are the front line of the company. they have to follow procedure and tow the company line.
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring CVT
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236 Posts
My local dealer (decently trustworthy but I've had to set them straight a couple times over the years) had recommended against ever changing CVT fluid, which I find stupid. It's going to get dirty and tiny metal particles that accelerate wear, even the best fluid eventually breaks down and gets dirty. The other day while there I casually mentioned it again and service guy says that problems usually start around 110K-120k miles, therefore NOW recommend changing it around 100k miles. Seems to me like 60k or less would be more appropriate, but it's not inexpensive to do! He quoted about $400 just for the fluid, wth?

I questioned further about what all gets done and he never really answered, but indicated it was drain and refill, not flush. Proper flush would be much better, sounds like he doesn't really know what he's talking about or what the techs perform for this! I've been doing a lot of reading about CVT servicing here. So filter/screen magnetic catch to clean, drop pan, what else?

Edit: Here's an interesting thread.
https://www.subaruforester.org/vbul...ging-cvt-fluid-782507/index2.html#post7444251
The dealer I use in Johnson City, TN quoted me $295.00 for a flush, refill, and re-program. I'm at 100K on my '14 Forester and it's time, IMO, to have it done.

who ever gave you that price was looking at the board that lists prices for services. that is the price for a 4eat or normal planetary gear automatic flush. i once had a service writer amke that mistake and when i actually dropped the car off for the service they called me back later to explain the mistake. it is properly a 600$ service and not a flush only drain and fill.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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854 Posts
Yes, I think you're correct and I don't have faith in them since they seem to not know proper drain/fill procedure, service guy sounded shaky when questioned about it.

Another independent shop that I trust more than the others now does Subaru and has ASE Master Tech who uses Eneos Eco CVT fluid, supposedly makes lubricants for many of the major automakers.
Website product description:
ENEOS ECO CVT Fluid | No Limits. No Compromises. Pure Performance.

Website PDF with full specifications:
http://www.eneos.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/PDS-of-ENEOS-ECO-CVT-FLUID_r.11-22-16.pdf

I've scheduled a drain/fill appointment, I'll update afterwards.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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854 Posts
I had the more trusted shop do the drain and refill, they used Subaru fluid without even having to request it. Picked car up that evening and runs great, but when engine gets up to temp, there's a slight odor of tranny fluid/gear oil smell. I looked everywhere and didn't see any drips or spills down in the engine bay, on top of plastic factory 'skidplates' or under the vehicle. Gave it a week and still happens! When the engine is cold, no odor, up near operation temp the odor recurs every time. With engine running (up to operating temp) and hood closed, I did a walk around the odor is most noticeable on left side from between hood/fender, right side not as much.

Called and they said bring it in yesterday morning, got it up to temp and went to see them. They put it on lift, dropped plastic undertrays and nothing, looked all round with a flashlight, nothing....even took me back and let me look around with them. I've changed many manual and automatic transmissions fluids myself and never encountered this unless there was a drip, spill or leak. They did show me the CVT vent hose on right side of the transmission, just a little rubber hose with standard 180* loop at the top to help keep debris out, seems like they would have broght this vent line up high and used a tiny clamp on it to better keep junk out! Anyways, the odor is still there, any ideas?
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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ANd the odor is still present as soon as the engine oil says about 190F, hate this smell...nobody?
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring CVT
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236 Posts
Yes, I think you're correct and I don't have faith in them since they seem to not know proper drain/fill procedure, service guy sounded shaky when questioned about it.

Another independent shop that I trust more than the others now does Subaru and has ASE Master Tech who uses Eneos Eco CVT fluid, supposedly makes lubricants for many of the major automakers.
Website product description:
ENEOS ECO CVT Fluid | No Limits. No Compromises. Pure Performance.

Website PDF with full specifications:
http://www.eneos.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/PDS-of-ENEOS-ECO-CVT-FLUID_r.11-22-16.pdf

I've scheduled a drain/fill appointment, I'll update afterwards.

concerning your smell im assuming you washed it already.

I had the same smell but it went away after a good underbody wash do the entire car and the engine bay as well, just dawn and water in the engine bay. all i can say is the obvious. do the good old cardboard under the car trick over the weekend. the oil has to be hitting the exhaust.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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854 Posts
The first trusted shop that did the drain and fill couldn't find anything, Subaru dealer couldn't either. Mechanic friend and I think that the original tech must have touched the exhaust somewhere with a slight CVT fluid film on his hand/glove and bam there's the nasty fluid smell that took forever to burn off. Seems to be gone now, we started having weather in the high 80 to low 90F couple weeks ago and that seems to thankfully have helped bake off the last of the stank.

About 60k miles (about 7k miles from now) I'm going to my other trusted shop for drain, fill, run, drain, refill with BG Products fluid. Factory warranty (and the Gold Extended Warranty are a PITA to use and SOA is also a PITA, so not going to worry about that since they are of very little help anyways. :/

Edit: there's apparently no leak, just a tech who needs to watch where he puts his gloved hands even after wiping the CVT fluid off on a rag, this stuff is insidious and wicks/gets itself everywhere if you're not super careful. I was typing reply as you edited but I knew what you meant lol. Thanks for the Dawn liquid detergent/water washdown suggestion too!
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
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854 Posts
Thanks for answers guys, this dealer used to be pretty reliable and fairly honest....back in 2010 lol. Very sad.
 
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